[review] Joyo Ironman JF-312 Pipebomb - Compressor (by LievenDV)

This tiny sized pedal won't leave a big footprint on your pedalboard and it won't set you back much. But is it worth even the small investment? For many, a compressor is an effect that is too subtle to invest in but it can certainly help you in sounding consistent. Especially for rhythm players or acoustic aficionado's a compressor is a useful tool in the box.

Joyo Pipe Bomb CompressorThis pedal has a few nice quirks like a lid to shield of the tiny knobs for the impact of your big feet. Whether it is to prevent breaking off knobs or for keeping you from altering your settings while stomping it, it sure channels you into a "set and forget" scenario.

The knobs are a bit small but they are usable enough because of their shape and color. With this small size, they allow you to have 4 controls: Volume, sensitivity, mix dry/wet and attack response time. (what should be more than enough options for such a small pedal)

You'll know when it's on; 2 obvious clear leds will tell you. That might be another reason to close the lid. When closed, the logo on the lid shines and that's a nice touch. I think the power input on the right side might be problematic for some plugs so I wonder if there went as much thinking in that as in the lid.

[review] DigiTech Drop (by LievenDV)

DigiTech has proven themselves a worthy pedal brand that already has some notorious classics on its product list. You all know the various Whammy iterations and as a sort of spin-off, they bring you The Drop. This pedal is a straightforward, drop tune pedal with a remarkable polyphonic quality.

I don't read a manual before I test a pedal. I want to experience how intuitive the pedal really is by plugging it and and start playing with it. First thing I notice is the big size knob that controls the number of intervals I can drop. Please mind that the pedal only tunes down, as the name suggests. You can drop all intervals between 1 and 7 semi-tones or go to a lower octave right away. In the case of the latter, you can add dry signal when setting it on the "OCT+DRY" setting. A little control to determine the blend of dry and octave down would have been useful here but that is no show stopper.

One of the functions that points out that the people at DigiTech really had a good think about this product, is the latch/momentary function. This is something I would like to see on almost all the pedals I currently own.

DigiTech DropIf momentary is off, the on/off switch of the effect works in a classic fashion: stomp it to turn it on, stomp it again to turn it off. With the momentary mode on, you to hold your foot down to turn it on and as soon as you lift your foot again, the effect turns off. I use a similar switch on a booster, which is useful if you play guitar and sing in a band an you need to focus on playing, singing and pedal switching at the same time. By tapping the switch, you can experiment with stutter effects to add detuned accents to your solo's. 

A fun quirk I only found out while reading the manual afterwards, is that you can decide whether the momentary function makes the switch an "on" or "off" function. If the effect switch is off (led=dark) while you turn on the momentary mode, the pedal will operate as described above; press down to turn on the effect and release to turn it off. If the effect is on (led=red) when you switch on momentary mode, the operation is reversed and pressing down the switch acts as a "kill switch".

[review] JHS Pedals Muffuletta (by JJ Tanis)

JHS Pedals is Josh Scott’s company. They offer handmade effects that stand out, visually as well as design-wise. They are based in Kansas City, Missouri and have been around since 2007. Besides making pedals, they also do several mods to existing pedals. Recently, they did a collaboration with Robert Keeley on the Steak & Eggs pedal - a Keeley compressor and JHS overdrive in one pedal. The JHS Muffuletta is their latest offering, it has no less than six different Big Muff sounds from a single pedal with all-analog sound path.

Big Muff legacy

The Electro-Harmonix Big Muff has been around for for over 40 years and is one of the most influential guitar effects ever produced. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, Carlos Santana, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys are all very different players who have used this fuzz with great results. JHS MuffulettaThere have been many versions of this pedal over the years. Check out Kit Rae’s excellent bigmuffpage.com for an in-depth guide. JHS claim to offer five classic versions in this Muffuletta: Civil War, Sovtek, Pi, Triangle, Ram’s Head plus their own take on the circuit simply labeled JHS.

Test gear

I tested the Muffuletta using my Vox Humana CarbonTech Special Tele with Kinman Broadcaster pickups and my Vox Humana modded Tele Thinline with Seymour Duncan P-Rails pickups. I used my Vox AC15C1 with a Celestion Greenback speaker.

[review] Wampler Pedals cataPulp - British Distortion (by JJ Tanis)

Wampler Pedals are based in Martinsville, Indiana in the United States. They offer beautifully handcrafted pedals that are used by artists such as Brad Paisley, Brent Mason and many more… and not just country pickers! The cataPulp is aimed at the player who’s looking for saturated British distortion but who could also use milder overdrive tones.

Amp-in-a-box pedal

Wampler offer several pedals that are designed to be amp-in-a-box effects, meant to “give your amp an identity crisis” You can use them to change the tonal character of your basic amp sound into something completely different. Examples are the Black ’65, the Tweed ’57 and – my favourite – the Plexi Drive. The cataPulp is also part of that series and it is designed to sound like the Orange Rockerverb, an amp that has a very distinct British distortion tone.

[review] Joyo Ironman JF-313 Old School - Overdrive (by rlm)

Will there ever come an end to the seemingly endlessly expanding Joyo Ironman series mini pedals range? There are currently 27 pedals available, from a tuner to overdrives, distortion pedals, boosters, to modulation and delay pedals. Joyo has every angle covered.

The majority of pedals are overdrives and distortions. Just like the next pedal I’ll be reviewing: the Old School distortion. The name says it all… This distortion pedal was designed to replicate old school classic rock tones. 

Like all the other pedals in the Iron Man series the Old School comes in a small black box which next to the pedal also includes a patch of velcro and a rubber strip that have been cut out to the size of the pedal. Once attached, the rubber strip will prevent the pedal from sliding all over the place when placed on the floor. The patch of velcro can be used if you want to put the pedal on your pedal board. The pedal itself has a black plastic cover to protect your settings while playing or moving the pedal. The logo will light up through the cover when the pedal is engage. And of course, this pedal is true bypass, just like the other pedals in the Ironman range. Since the pedal is quite small there is no room for a battery and a power supply is required. On the other hand, as it is so compact in size, it leaves space for more pedals on your board. 

[review] Joyo Ironman JF-314 Husky Drive - Overdrive (by rlm)

JOYO has been around for a while now and has become a rather well known manufacturer of effect pedals and many other accessories for the modern musician. This Chinese company is adored by many for the quality of the products they offer at reasonable pricing. Not that long ago, JOYO released a range of small effect pedals called the Ironman series. This series of mini pedals covers a whole range of overdrive, distortion, boost and modulation effects. One of their latest additions is the Husky Drive.

As is the case with the other pedals in the range, the Husky Drive takes little space on your pedal board. Since it's that small, there is no room for a battery and therefore a 9v power supply is required. Inside the box you'll find a patch of velcro and a rubber strip that have been cut out to the size of the pedal. Once attached, the rubber strip will prevent the pedal from sliding all over the place when placed on the floor. The patch of velcro can be used if you want to put the pedal on your pedal board. The pedal itself has a plastic cover to protect your settings while playing. The logo will light up on the cover when the pedal is active. And of course, this pedal is true bypass, just like the other pedals in the Ironman range.

[review] Accel DD-SS Digital Delay (by rlm)

California based company Accel specializes in pedal boards, cables, power supplies and effects. They have recently released three effect pedals in the “select series” range which are built in China. The company offers original equipment manufacturer pedals from selected manufactures that have been well proven out in tone, quality, price and sales. These pedals are actually made by another manufacturer and tweaked to Accel’s specifications. You can read more about the company’s philosophy on their website.

As with the rest of the pedals in their range, the DD-SS Digital Delay looks rather cheap and plain. Covered in a blue metal shell, it is however built to last. The pedal is either powered by a 9v adapter or a 9v battery. The battery cap on the back can be easily opened thanks to a very user friendly locking system similar to the one you’ll find on BOSS pedals. The LED on the pedal will dim when it’s low on battery power so you’ll know when it’s time to change the battery.

[review] T-Rex Vulture - Distortion (by rlm)

The Danish company T-Rex has been around for nearly twenty years, as it was founded in 1996. The company is renowned for their high quality pedals and accessories. Amongst their many users are guitar legends like David Gilmour, Pete Townshend and John Mayer, to name a few.

When buying a T-Rex pedal, you know what to expect. A high quality product with high standards in sound, built quality and reliability. In their line-up we come across some legendary products as the replica, roommate, mudhoney, moller and their fuel tank series.

T-Rex has recently extended their effects line up with a few new pedals. One of them is the Vulture. On their website, the Danes state that the Vulture is actually modified version of one of the first pedals they created back in the 90's which was a bit grungy in the low end. They started from that pedal to create a distortion pedal with a tighter, less fuzzy low end and with more gain. The Vulture has been born...

[review] DOD 440 Envelope Filter (by LievenDV)

The 2014 version of the DOD 440 is the reissue of a classic envelope filter. This time it comes with true bypass (while its ancestor didn't). The control scheme of this pedal is simple: 2 knobs adjust Level and Range, a switch changes the voicing from "Up" to "Down".

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